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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Controlling log debris in the Fraser River Hughes, James Richard


Every year about 9 million m³ of logs are transported for processing, to the Lower Fraser River in British Columbia. During the transportation and handling about 3% of these logs escape from their booms, from the sorting grounds or from the mill ponds. These escaped logs represent over 15% of the debris coming from the river, and account for about 8.8 million dollars of clean-up, salvage, log loss and boat and property damage costs. There are also other social and environmental costs that are not easy to calculate, but which may be high. The purpose of this research is to determine a pricing and regulation policy which would control log loss to the extent that total social costs would be minimized. Hemlock logs are a particular problem because they have a high density and escape relatively easily from log rafts. It is found that the most cost effective means of reducing the total social costs of escaped logs would be to handle all hemlock logs, and a portion of the other logs, in a manner such that single logs cannot escape. These logs should be sorted and bundled on land at the logging operation, transported in bundle booms to the mill and bundles should then be opened only on mill decks. The costs of dryland bundling and of mill up-grading to accept bundles is determined. These costs together with the costs mentioned above, are calculated as a function of the volume of timber bundled. A social least-cost point is calculated and a socially optimal level of implementation for the control scheme is derived. Finally, the pricing and regulation policy options that could be applied to achieve the desired level of hemlock bundling are considered. It is concluded that to institute a pricing policy which allows individual mills to choose which means of log transport and handling they will use, but obliges them to meet the social costs of escaped logs due to their decision, is feasible and in the interests of the forest products industry and of society as a whole.

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